Professions in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are easy to understand, unrestrictive, and yield some of the most powerful items and gear in the game. It's possible to level multiple professions at the same time in Skyrim, and one that every player should prioritize is Smithing.
Smithing is useful for every class in the game, as it is used to create both heavy and light armor and weapons that suit just about any playstyle. It's a profession that protects your character early in the game when good gear is sparse, and it will overpower your character later in the game when special Smithing recipes are unlocked.
You Need An Anvil or Forge and Materials
To start Smithing, the player needs to have the materials necessary for the intended recipe and a Forge or an Anvil to work on – the Forge and Anvil both bring up the same crafting screen for weapons and armor.
In Riverwood, look for the local blacksmith Alvor if you want to train on the basics of Smithing in-game. Alvor will provide ore and other materials to craft a few basic items from scratch, and the tutorial is a great hands-on way to figure out the system for yourself.
Put Ores Into A Smelter To Create Ingots
Near just about every blacksmith in Skyrim there is a large, dome-shaped building with a large hole in the front of it. This is the Smelter, and it can be used to turn raw ores into ingots. It's used for every craftable ingot in the game, including Dwarven Metal ingots and Refined Moonstone.
It doesn't cost anything to smelt and it gives a small amount of Smithing XP when used. Collecting ores to smelt later on while adventuring is ultimately much less expensive than buying ores or ingots from traders.
High-Value Items Give More XP
The Smithing system in Skyrim encourages players to avoid crafting endless low-tier gear to level up the skill. Instead, players receive more XP for crafting high-tier items instead of low-tier ones. It's based mostly on the gold value of the item being crafted – the more it's worth, the more XP the player gets.
While crafting a hundred cheap Iron Daggers is a... fun... way to spend the afternoon, it's more efficient and less of a grind to simply craft good gear as you learn the recipes. Even if you don't end up using the gear it will sell for a better price than low-value items as well.
The Smithing Tree Is Required For End-Game Gear
Skyrim's skill system is unique for allowing every character, no matter their initial choices, to pick up and level any skill of their choosing. However, those that want to have the best gear possible towards the end of the game should put a lot of effort into leveling this profession.
The Smithing profession only offers a basic assortment of items if the player doesn't choose certain end-of-tree perks. Skills like Daedric Smithing, Dragon Armor, and even Steel Smithing cannot be used if the player doesn't spec into them.
Some Items Can Only Be Crafted At Unique Locations
Certain items in all professions can only be crafted at specific locations in the game. For Smithing, the end-game Nord Hero and Ancient Nord weapons and armor cannot be made anywhere except the Skyforge in Whiterun.
The Nord Hero weapons and Ancient Nord armor can only be crafted when the player completes The Companions quests fully. It's end-game gear that also requires Skyforge Steel to be crafted, which can only be purchased from Eorlund Gray-Mane.
Smithing Can Be Leveled With The Workbench and Grindstone
Smithing in Skyrim can be leveled up in a variety of ways. You don't just have to create gear from scratch, you can also use two other Smithing facilities present at just about every blacksmith. The Workbench and the Grindstone both provide a small amount of XP. There are several trainers located throughout the game, too, that can level you up very fast if you have the gold to spend.
The Smelter and Tanning Rack unfortunately do not grant any XP. Forging items is the best way to level up in general, but if you find yourself at a lack of materials using the Workbench or Grindstone can help bump you up to the next skill level – if you're close.
...And Powerleveled With the Warrior Stone
The introduction to Skyrim has the player choose between three Standing Stones: the Thief Stone, the Mage Stone, and the Warrior Stone. There are many more Standing Stones in the game, each of which gives a unique bonus to an attribute or grants a skill to the player. The Warrior Stone, specifically, makes leveling traditionally Warrior-related skills 20 percent faster.
This means that players who choose hand-to-hand barbarian life will have the upper hand in Smithing compared to those who went with the Thief Stone or Mage Stone. The 20 percent bonus to leveling speed might not seem like a lot, but think about it this way: for every 4 levels you go up in Smithing, if you choose the Warrior Stone you get another level for free.
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